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AUTO SOFTNESS EMERGES IN APRIL REPORT OF PURCHASING EXECS

 DETROIT, May 5 /PRNewswire/ -- April's survey of the National Association of Purchasing Management-Metro Detroit (NAPM-MD) re-established the fragility of the current industrial expansion. The Composite Index of business conditions for Southeast Michigan was 55.0 in April, versus 61.4 in March, a loss of 6.4 points.
 Comment
 "Although April's reading was the weakest in six months, it was still the 15th consecutive month in which the regional industrial economy has shown expansion," said David L. Littmann, first vice president and senior economist with Comerica Bank in Detroit.
 Despite the expansion still under way, Littmann observed two distressing facets to the April report of local purchasing managers. "This was the first month since September 1992 that the year-over-year comparison is negative. This also was the first instance in 15 months that the automotive component of the survey showed a composite index contraction; it fell to 44.7 from 61.0 in February. In particular, new order activity stagnated."
 Littmann noted that non-auto respondents had a brighter report, with new order and production activity holding up very well and slippage of only 2.1 points in the composite index. Commodity prices continued to exhibit increases despite the lower momentum shown in the overall index.
 For the first time, several respondents noted the negative impact on activity from uncertainty caused by elements of President Clinton's fiscal program.
 Items in short supply included electrical, computer, and electronic equipment, bearings and some truck parts, fluorescent lamps and steel springs, power clamps, and hydroxyacetic acid.
 AUTO NON-AUTO TOTAL
 MAR APR MAR APR MAR APR
 NAPM-MD Index 60.2 44.7 60.7 59.4 60.6 55.0
 Production 73.5 53.8 73.3 70.0 73.4 65.1
 New Orders 76.5 50.0 73.4 74.2 74.5 67.0
 Inventories 64.7 42.3 48.4 59.7 54.2 54.5
 Employment 41.2 46.2 50.0 50.0 47.0 48.9
 Vendor 38.2 34.6 46.9 46.9 43.9 43.3
 Performance
 Prices 76.5 69.2 62.1 54.7 67.0 58.9
 Weighting 34.0 28.9 66.0 71.1 100 100
 Comerica Bank compiles the NAPM-MD survey report from monthly responses of local purchasing managers belonging to the 500-member NAPM-MD (National Association of Purchasing Management-Metro Detroit). The report indicates whether fundamental measures of the economy are stronger, weaker, or unchanged from the prior month.
 The Composite Index (CI) is a seasonally adjusted weighted average measure of new orders and production activity along with employment, inventories and the promptness of supplier company deliveries. The index ranges from 0 to 100. A CI below 50 generally means conditions are deteriorating; CI levels above 50 denote expansion. The CI and its components have been tabulated since October 1985.
 -0- 5/5/93
 /CONTACT: David L. Littmann, First Vice President & Senior Economist Comerica Bank, 313-222-7241/
 (CMA)


CO: Comerica Bank ST: Michigan IN: FIN SU: ECO

ML -- DE021 -- 4874 05/05/93 12:41 EDT
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Date:May 5, 1993
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